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MR defends his London tour courtiers

Dec 13 (SL) It has been the practice of President Mahinda Rajapaksa hitherto to hold his Cabinet meetings at Temple Trees. But after the recent Cabinet re-shuffle he decided to have it at the Presidential Secretariat last Wednesday. This was because the new Cabinet is enormous and Temple Trees Hall where it is usually held was not adequate to accommodate all. Mahinda Rajapaksa attended the first cabinet meeting following the re-shuffle after having listened to more..

Tamils lose trust in crisis-ridden UNP

Dec 13 (NS) I talked to a cross-section of Tamils in Colombo and outside who traditionally vote for the UNP to ascertain their view about crisis-ridden UNP. Most of them are dejected. Shanmugam Vinayagam, a trader, said, “I am disgusted. At the next local government elections, it will suffer a humiliating defeat.” Several ‘UNP Tamils’ expressed similar unease. Manonmani Subramaniam of Wellawatte said: “I will not waste my time in voting for the UNP in the future.” more..

President makes Presidential Fleet Review

Dec 13 (MoD) The Presidential Fleet Review organized in paralleled to the 60th anniversary celebrations of the Sri Lanka Navy was held yesterday (11) at the Port of Colombo. His Excellency the President Mahinda Rajapaksa inspected the fleet in the presence of Commander of the Navy Vice Admiral Thisara samarasinghe. Eight foreign Naval war ships which had arrived here and SLNS Sayura were part of this historical event. more..

Editorial: Way for a more dignified UNP

Dec 13 (DM) The much awaited United National Party Convention ended last afternoon with the reforms approved albeit with the anticipated controversy attached. The unruly behavior of so-called party supporters that preceded the commencement of the convention that the grand old party has now come to be identified with no doubt left a bitter taste on old party stalwarts more accustomed to the discipline that was an essential part of the political grouping. more..

Editorial: Human rights: Criminals as judges

Dec 13 (Island) The world is never short of sinister elements responsible for grave crimes against humanity masquerading as human rights campaigners. US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labour Michael Posner is reported to have said that the US is aware of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka and that it will continue to engage directly with the Sri Lankan Government on those issues looking at the past. more..

Now is the time to act!

Dec 13 (LG) Dear Sri Lankans, the time has now come for us to stop being complacent and start taking an active role in shaping our future and the future of this country. Sri Lanka is still a democracy and the Constitution specifies certain rights - among them the right of the citizens to exercise their franchise without being intimidated or persecuted. Sadly, the reality is quite the opposite. Those with dissenting views and more..

A terrible leak, missed speech and open sourced terror assemblage

Dec 13 (DM) The recent events which led to the cancellation of a talk scheduled to be given at the Oxford students’ union by President Mahinda Rajapaksa brought about a multi-dimensional analysis and political response. The crux of the arguments was on the role of pro-separatist and pro-LTTE Tamil diaspora operations. A multitude of academics, politicians and security analysts brought out arguments, interpretations all stressing on the much needed counter measures to more..

People feel let down by the budget

Dec 13 (Island) One woman said it was a costly affair to cook-up a simple meal. "It costs nearly Rs. 150 just to perches one kilogram of rice and a coconut," she said. A carpenter said, "Life is difficult for our lot. We are only seeing prices of essentials increase while the prices of luxury items are brought down. The people living in the slums are facing hardships and it is unfortunate to say that though the government says they have given benefits to people such as ourselves, more..

Fireworks over Karu and Bahu

Dec 13 (LB) Sri Lanka is increasingly becoming a bitter and paranoid place. The latest spell of witch- hunting of opposition campaigners began just as President Mahinda Rajapaksa had his Oxford Union address cancelled, due to , as the Oxford Union put it, fears of the sheer scale of expected protests. As the Sri Lankan delegation was battling negative publicity in the British press and Tamil protestors who surrounded their plush London hotel, more..

Attack on NH doc, wife: Colombo politico’s associate arrested

Dec 13 (Island) The Gothatuwa police have arrested a person, who allegedly assaulted a doctor attached to the National Hospital and his wife last Friday. The police swung into action after the GMOA crippled the OPD on Saturday at the National Hospital to pressure the police headquarters to act. The doctors had returned to work after the arrest of the suspect described as a close associate of a member of ruling coalition representing the Colombo District. more..

Fresh blow to UN aid

Dec 13 (NS) The World Food Programme (WFP) has become the latest humanitarian organisation to scale down its activities in the east following the ICRC, UNOCHA and the UNHCR. The move by the WFP comes amidst UN concern that funding shortfalls were hampering its operations. “WFP is scaling down its emergency operations in the east, although development activities - Mother and Child Health Nutrition and School Meals are planned to continue after December 31, more..

Sea planes in the Negombo Lagoon: Battle hots up between military and fishermen

Dec 13 (LB) The proposed sea plane project basing the Negambo lagoon will destroy the livelihoods of 15 000 villagers and run down the lagoon into a dead eco zone claim environmentalists and fishermen. Although the government has temporarily stopped the construction of the runway the Ministry of Ports and Aviation claims that the project will commence in the near future. more..

Blaming is so easy; convincing so difficult

Dec 13 (ST) My dear Karu, I thought of writing to you because you seem to be in the news these days, being branded as the latest ‘deshadrohiya’ that has betrayed our country. I do feel sorry for you, Karu, because all this fuss is about a statement that you issued on Mahinda maama’s London visit where he was supposed to have addressed the students of Oxford but had to suddenly return because the Tiger cubs there had begun protesting. more..

President says ‘thank you’ for opening door

Dec 13 (ST) “Sirimavo was the first in a list which carries the names of other women Prime Ministers such as Indira Gandhi and Margaret Thatcher. Sirimavo is an internationally important figure for Sri Lanka”, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said at the launching ceremony of the book ‘Sirimavo’. The book, which is a collection of articles about the late Mrs. Bandaranaike and speeches made by her and about her, was published by the Bandaranaike Museum Committee. more..

Sri Lanka: Reconciliation Trip

Politics in Panadura pool

Dec 13 (DM) Panadura Police is conducting investigations into a complaint of poisioning the water of the Panadura Swimming Pool, over which the officials of the swimming club are at logger heads. Chief Inspector Sarath Dassanayake with a team of policemen visited the swimming pool and drew samples of water to be forwarded to the Govt. Analyst for examination. Recently some members opposed to the club administration had forcibly entered the pool premises and more..

'Universities haunted by conspirators'

Dec 13 (DN) Students should understand that the Universities are being haunted by conspirators and saboteurs when entering the University and one should not fall prey to such categories, North Central Province Chief Minister Berty Premalal Dissanayake said. The Chief Minister was speaking at the Swarnapali Balika National School's annual prize-giving ceremony recently. UGC Chairman Prof Gamini Samaranayake said the students who leave school as highly disciplined, more..

171 foreigners deported

Dec 13 (NS) The government has deported 171 foreign nationals during the first half of this year and had arrested a total of 168 foreign nationals, according to the Department of Immigration and Emigration. Some 97 foreigners were arrested by the Authorised Officers of the Department while 43 were arrested and handed over by prison officers and another 28 were arrested and handed over by the Police. more..

Four coastal conservation projects planned

Dec 13 (DN) Four coastal protection projects proposed by the Coast Conservation Department (CCD) will be implemented shortly to improve the status of the coastal environment and the living standards of the coastal communities and resource users. It has been proposed to protect the coastal line from Pahala Katuneriya to Chilaw through special project costing Rs 2,750 million. The coastal line in four Divisional Secretariats including Nattandiya, Arachchikattuwa, more..

Sri Lanka features at KU exhibition

Dec 13 (KT) Kuwait University hosted the Fourth International Conference on Social Sciences on Nov 29 and 30 under the patronage of the Kuwaiti Minister of Education Prof Moudhi Al-Humoud, who is also the university's president. As part of the conference, the representatives of the 25 participating countries took part in a two-day national promotional exhibition focusing on their different cultures, tourist attractions, fashion, people, food and more..

Lankan spice firm wins trade mark dispute against McDonalds

Dec 13 (ST) A Sri Lankan company renowned for its array of spices, curry powder and condiments recently won a trademark dispute in an intellectual property case against McDonalds, the international hamburger fast food chain. Lanka Spice Limited, Makumbura Kottawa, Pannipitiya had made an application for the registration of its trademark logo consisting the word “Mc Curry”. However, McDonalds opposed the registration of the mark claiming that more..

Sri Lanka face Pak tour dilemma

Dec 13 (DM) The Sri Lankan Cricket (SLC) will certainly face the dilemma of whether to tour Pakistan as mentioned in the ICC's Futures Tours Programmes (FTP) or request the series to be held at a neutral venue. Sources in the PCB confirmed on Sunday that in 2011, Pakistan were scheduled to host Sri Lanka for a full series. "The tour is important for us but obviously keeping in mind the terrorist attack on the Sri Lankan team last year, we have serious doubts that more..

Time to appoint a director to clean up SLC mess

Dec 13 (Island) As an effort at international public relations, it was a chaotic disaster. It was also a major embarrassment that the country didn’t need. And Sri Lanka Cricket cannot say they were not warned when they boasted how the three venues for the next year’s World Cup would be used for the West Indies tour. While Pallekele passed muster, it has been around long enough to rebuild from what left standing as an abandoned ode of future plans when more..

'Rally to defeat brain-dead government that violates human rights'

Dec 13 (LT) It is ten months since former Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka was arbitrarily arrested and at this moment the International Human Rights Day is celebrated he is being unjustly imprisoned states DNA MP Vijithe Herath. He said this at a media briefing convened today by the TNA. He said one and a half years have gone by since the end of the war but the government has not been able to resettle the displaced from the war and fulfill their needs he added. more..

SLMC-TNA to find solutions to minority problems

Dec 13 (DM) The TNA has had talks with the SLMC that joined the Government recently on Saturday in a bid to find solutions to the problems faced by the minority communities in the country. SLMC front liner and Digamadulla District Parliamentarian H. M. M. Harees said that the two parties attempted to identify the problems common to both Tamil and Muslim communities at Saturday’s meeting and agreed to continue the negotiations. more..

Talk at the Cafe Spectator

Dec 13 (ST) Kevin Murray, Chairman of the Bell Pottinger Group, hired by the Government of Sri Lanka to do public relations and diplomacy in Britain, just side by side with the High Commission in London, has this to say to his 600-odd clients: "Our clients come to us when they need to build great reputations, win more customers, increase sales and build brands. We have helped them to be talked about positively in the print and broadcast media and on the web, and more..

Biggest victory, say reformists

Dec 13 (DM) The UNP convention yesterday approved the party’s long- awaited constitution which sought to appoint five key office bearers of the party including the leadership by secret ballot unless there was consensus in this regard. The party’s convention took place at its Headquarters ‘Sirikotha’ at Kotte. Around 3000-4000 party supporters who attended the event cheered loud when it was announced that the constitution was legalized. more..

Belgian economic delegation upbeat following visit to Sri Lanka

Dec 13 (DM) The Belgian business delegation which included over 50 representatives from 40 companies who visited Sri Lanka for 'Belgian Week 2010' held from 22-26 November to explore economic and investment possibilities, have expressed optimism on the country's business climate and the prospect of their doing business in Sri Lanka. The mission was organised as a collaborative effort by the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Belgium, more..

Kandy Municipal Council deputy mayor re-joins UNP

Dec 13 (DM) The Deputy Mayor of the Kandy Municipal Council, Suminda Wikramasinghe who had joined the UPFA expressing support to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s candidacy at the last Presidential Election, has again shifted allegiance and joined the UNP. Speaking to Daily Mirror Mr. Wikramasinghe said that he was disgusted over the performance of the Government with prices of essential items sky rocketing, though the war was over. more..

Tycoon nabbed for water piracy

Dec 13 (DN) A prominent businessman who obtained water for 15 years by illegally tapping major supply lines close to the National Water Supply and Drainage Board Head Office, Ratmalana was arrested Saturday. The suspect had owned a building complex near the Board and had obtained water illegally by tapping the supply lines in three locations. The revenue loss to the Board due to this water piracy is estimated to be over Rs one million. more..

Ranil, Sajith claim victory as UNP Convention adopts new Constitution

Dec 13 (Island) Leader of the UNP Ranil Wickremesinghe and his main rival Sajith Premadasa claimed victory yesterday, as the UNP adopted a new constitution that makes it the only political party, in Sri Lanka and possibly in Asia, to institutionalise the democratic process. The convention was a noisy affair as expected, with Wickremesinghe and Premadasa being cheered on during their respective speeches, but more..

SLFP to sack 3 bribe taking PC members

Dec 13 (Island) Three SLFP Provincial Council members, found guilty of taking bribes from two persons promising jobs in the Health Ministry, have been sacked and will be expelled from the Party, General Secretary of the SLFP Maithripala Sirisena said yesterday. The three Provincial Council members had received a total of Rs 225,000 as bribes and had deposited money in a State bank, more..

Anticipatory bail for Devananda

Dec 13 (DM) Secretary General of the EPDP and the Minister of Traditional Industries, Douglas Devananda has taken steps to apply for anticipatory bail in the additional session’s court of India this week. Minister Douglas Devananda told the Daily Mirror today that he has prepared all the documents and he will forward the application on Tuesday or Wednesday through his lawyer in Madras. more..

Govt’s tri-lingual programme in progress

Dec 13 (Island) The government has commenced the teaching of the Sinhala language to non – Sinhalese and Tamil language to the Sinhalese under President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s ‘Trilingual Sri Lanka’ programme. Newly appointed Minister of National Languages and Social Integration Vasudeva Nanayakkara said that they had organized Sinhala language classes for school leavers, government and private sector employees in Jaffna. more..

Amidst calls for ‘war crimes’probe, Lanka welcomes presence of Big Five in Colombo

Dec 13 (Island) An international naval gathering in Colombo, including senior representatives of the UN Security Council couldn’t have come at a better time for Sri Lanka, says Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. He said that their presence at the SLN’s 60th anniversary celebrations had meant international recognition and appreciation of Sri Lanka’s victory over the LTTE. more..

Six gansters killed in Warakapola

Dec 13 (DM) Six members of the robber gang that killed two policemen and critically injuring another two last Friday were killed during confrontations with the security personnel in a forest area in Mirigama on Saturday and Sunday. Police said the gang comprised of a Police Constable and six Army deserters. Seven suspects are believed to have been involved in the robbery of a pawn shop in Warakapola. more..

200 hec. in city to be released

Dec 13 (DM) The Urban Development Authority would release 200 hectares of land in the Colombo Municipal limits for development projects next year, the house was informed. The UDA which now functions under the purview of the Defence Ministry has planned to release the 200 hectares of land acquired by the relocation of their dwellers in Colombo. A strategic plan had been worked out for 2011 to release potential lands with more..

'Singing National Anthem in Tamil is a joke'

Dec 13 (AD) Minister of Housing and Construction, Wimal Weerawansa voiced his support towards the Cabinet decision to do away with the Tamil version of the National Anthem, branding this practice a joke. He said that in no other country is the National Anthem sung in multiple languages including India where the National Anthem is only sung in Hindi despite the hundreds of languages been spoken in the country. more..

Sri Lanka Tamils concerned over national anthem

Dec 13 (AFP) Sri Lanka's Tamils expressed concern on Monday over a media report suggesting that the government was set to ban singing the national anthem in their language. The TNA, said it was seeking clarification from the government, which is dominated by the majority Sinhalese ethnic group. "At a time when the government is talking about ethnic harmony and national integration, more..

Jayasuriya, Vaas in preliminary World Cup squad

Dec 14 (CI) Sri Lanka have sprung a couple of surprises by including Sanath Jayasuriya and Chaminda Vaas in their 30-member preliminary squad for the 2011 World Cup. Seamer Nuwan Pradeep is the only uncapped player in the list, which will be pruned to 15 ahead of the tournament to be hosted in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Jayasuriya has rarely featured in Sri Lanka's plans in recent times, and managed just 15 runs in six outings during the 2010 World Twenty20 in West Indies. more..